It’s a sad reality: There were not nearly enough snow days this winter to warrant those wonderful work-from-home days. They are such a special treat for those of us who go into the office every day, nine to five.
Unfortunately for Yahoo employees, working from home will be a distant memory. As I’m sure you’ve heard, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is putting an end to telecommuting, requiring all employees to start reporting to work by June, explaining: “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side,”.
If you work from home, you’ve heard the snide remarks before: “Oh you were working from home today?” as if working from home is somehow equivalent to hanging out at the spa in your bathrobe all day.
Working from home is quite the contrary; According to this Washington Post article, “studies have shown that telecommuting improves employee productivity, engagement, and job satisfaction and retention”. That’s probably true for most people. I, on the other hand, find it very difficult to work from home.
If we do get that miracle snow day that allows you to work from home, here are some tips for staying on track.
Disclaimer: These tips are for us office workers who are not accustomed to working from home. For those of you who already work from home every day…we’re sure you already know what you’re doing. Enjoy!
Put on your blue suede shoes
While working from the comforts of your bed with your cozy down comforter, flannel pj’s and robe may sound like a dream come true, it’s actually a productivity nightmare. Sometimes getting into work mode means actually putting on the work garb.
Your office away from the office
Clearly define your workspace. This means you need a clean, organized desk with everything that you would need if you were in an office. The comfiest cushion on your couch in front of the TV cannot be your workspace, unless you can find a way to convince your boss that watching another episode of Shark Tank is helping you think creatively.
Tune out the distractions
As much as I want to believe watching Mad Men is relevant to my work, it is just a major distraction. Turn off the tube and you’ll get much more accomplished.
Create goals and rewards
Create a to-do list each morning. Stick to it. When you finish a task, reward yourself in some small way, whether it be a brisk walk outside or a small treat.
Stay in Touch
Sometimes people think that working from home means you’re not actually working. Be sure to have daily communication with your co-workers and boss to ensure you’re on the same page and to demonstrate that you are actively working on the tasks at hand.
Do Not Disturb
If your number one obstacle in being productive at work is family distractions, then you need to be firm about the ‘do not disturb’ rule. Make sure that your family and friends know that your work is no less important just because you are working from home. Set clear rules as to when you can be contacted, as well as exceptions to the rule.
So turn off the tube, tune out the distractions and get to work!